Jesse joined the United States Army right out of high school in 1999. He attended basic and advanced individual training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. His first duty station was in Fort Drum, New York where he served as a military police patrol. After only one year he received orders to Korea where he served for 2 yrs and 3 months. There he was immediately assigned to the United Nations Command Honor Guard providing a variety of missions. In Korea, he met the love of his life Sunwoo (Sun). They married and transferred to Fort Riley Kansas in 2003. Immediately after arriving at Fort Riley, Jesse received orders to deploy to Iraq. In Iraq he completed a wide range of military police battlefield functions including serving at Camp Raider known as the triangle of death. He was able to return safely to the US and in 2004 Jesse left active duty and decided to serve his home state in the Montana Army National Guard.
After three years in the Guard, he was once again called back to Iraq as an MP. His mission included law and order, active shooter interdiction and VIP escort protection. One of his VIP’s was former Senator Joe Biden. He spent a year there and again returned safely to his family. In 2006, he volunteered for the Montana Army National Guard Honor Guard team and one year later was hired as the non-commissioned officer in charge of the military funeral honors team.
He worked hand-in-hand with the state coordinator to ensure fallen Veterans receive the most professional honors possible. He was one of Montana’s first to be nationally certified as an Honor Guard instructor. Jesse has trained and tested hundreds of soldiers to perform to their highest potential as members of the Montana Army National Guard Honor Guard team. Jesse was promoted to the rank of Master Sgt. and has conducted around 1100 funeral honors missions for Montana Veterans and soldiers killed in action.
In 2014, Master Sgt. Edinger once again volunteered to deploy, this time to Afghanistan, as military police investigator. After serving another year-long deployment, he returned to his military funeral honors position at Fort Harrison Montana. He also became a certified instructor for one of the most difficult tasks military members can be asked to perform which is to be a casualty notification officer or a casualty assistance officer. These officers notify next of kin and assist family members of a soldier killed in action or that has died in the line of duty. In 2020 Master Sergeant Edinger took charge as the bases supply sergeant where he serves today.
It is impossible to understand the emotional stress that Jesse has experienced while working with the families of lost soldiers. It has affected him in several ways including dealing with PTSD. Every time his phone rang it was usually a call concerning another assignment to break the horrible news to an unsuspecting widow of mother. Dealing with the children of the fallen soldiers was the toughest. Through it all Jesse used his gift of compassion and caring to help the family through their grief. Jesse would continue to serve these families for over a year when needed.
For 20 years Master Sgt. Jesse Edinger has served his country proudly and honored the lives of more than 1000 Montana veterans. He is the epitome of a military leader, and one we should be proud to recognize. His wife, Sun also serves in the Montana Army National Guard, and they have three children Jonathan age 15, Amber age 19, and Catherine age 16.